Directory Page Title

Joan Gavaler

Professor of Dance and Department Chair

Office : Adair Hall 401 or Phi Beta Kapp Hall 127
Email : [[jsgava]]
Office Phone : 757-221-2785



Areas of Specialization

Concert choreography and performance, theatre choreography and movement direction, Alexander Technique, Contact Improvisation


Joan Gavaler is a choreographer, performer, and teacher in the areas of modern dance, Alexander Technique, Contact Improvisation, and physical theatre. She relishes the creative process and collaborative discovery in making new work.

Since 1987 Joan has created choreography and directed operations for companies and collectives such as The Moving Arts Company, Gavaler Danceworks, Steve's House Dance Collective, and Gravity Optional.  She is currently co-artistic director of Aura Curiatlas Physical Theatre. Her work has been presented in Arkansas, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C., China, England, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland through organizations such as AAHPERD, Alliance for Dance and Movement Arts, American College Dance Festival, American Dance Guild, Arts Alive, artspace, Canton Ballet, CrisisArt Festival, Dance Place, Davis Discovery Center, First Night of Williamsburg, International Congress of the F.M. Alexander Technique, International Dance Festival - NYC, Jamestown 2007, Kilmarnock Center for the Arts, Muscarelle Museum, National Dance Association, OhioDance, Old Dominion University, Palomar Hotel, Virginia Shakespeare Festival, Williamsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, and Yes Virginia-Dance.

Her projects have been supported through grants and matching funds from the Columbus Community Arts Fund, Greater Columbus Arts Council, Ohio Joint Program in the Arts and Humanities, National Endowment for the Humanities, Westinghouse Foundation, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, and the College of William and Mary.

Since 1994, Joan has taught at the College of William and Mary.  She also has presented workshops through AAHPERD, Alliance for Dance and Movement Arts, Beach Blanket Beledi, Beijing Normal University, Caravan East, Davis Discovery Center, Days of Creation Arts for Kids, Dickinson College, George Mason University, Iona College, James Madison University, James River Elementary School, Longwood University, The Moving Arts Company, Muhlenberg College, Ohio State University, Old Dominion University, Radford University, Toscana Summer Dance Intensive, Virginia Shakespeare Festival, and York County School of the Arts.  Joan received her M.A. in Dance from the Ohio State University and is an ATI-certified Alexander Technique teacher.

Current Courses

Dance Composition I and II, Alexander Technique, Physical Theatre, all levels of modern and ballet technique

Student Advising

Dance Minors, Performance Ensemble, William & Mary Theatre, Interdisciplinary Studies